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Annual music festival deemed a success

February 5, 2014

Chadron State College student Jack Royals, right, claps his hands in time to assist drummer Landon Vacha from Gering High School learn a new musical piece for the High Plains Band and Choir concert on campus Feb. 4 Chadron State College student Jack Royals, right, claps his hands in time to assist drummer Landon Vacha from Gering High School learn a new musical piece for the High Plains Band and Choir concert on campus Feb. 4
Hemingford High School student musicians and their director pose at the High Plains Band and Choir Festival in Memorial Hall. Left to right, Taylee Neefe, K-12 music director Sara Schmidt, Joseph Rozmiarek, Abby Bright and Natalie Gasseling. Hemingford High School student musicians and their director pose at the High Plains Band and Choir Festival in Memorial Hall. Left to right, Taylee Neefe, K-12 music director Sara Schmidt, Joseph Rozmiarek, Abby Bright and Natalie Gasseling.
Tashina Spaid of Hulett, Wyo. takes a minute to practice her flute during a rehearsal break today in Memorial Hall. Tashina Spaid of Hulett, Wyo. takes a minute to practice her flute during a rehearsal break today in Memorial Hall.
Gering High School band instructor Misty Curtis gives some pointers to drummer Tanner Walker during a rehearsal break this morning. Gering High School band instructor Misty Curtis gives some pointers to drummer Tanner Walker during a rehearsal break this morning.

Over 200 students from 28 high schools in the region convened on campus for the annual High Plains Band and Choir Festival this week.

Guest conductor Dr. Mark Simmons commented that the quality of performances and the work ethic exhibited by the festival attendees is a testament to the work of their music educators and evidence that there is a dedication to the arts in the school systems of Nebraska, Wyoming and South Dakota.

“I thank all of you for your support. It matters,” said Simmons. It was his second time as the guest conductor at the festival.

He told the crowd that his home state of Tennessee was soft, complaining because it was 30 degrees, above zero. The Memorial Hall Auditorium was almost full in spite of a below zero wind chill.

Sara Schmidt, CSC alumna and Hemingford Public Schools K-12 music director, brought four students to the event which she attended all four years when she was a Chadron High School student.

“This is a great opportunity for the students to play next to more advanced students and in a large group. It lets them see what’s out there and then go back and encourage the younger kids to look forward to attending the festival,” Schmidt said.

Dr. Una Taylor, CSC music department chair and associate professor told the audience attending the final concert Tuesday evening, “I can’t tell you how pleased I am with this group. I wasn’t sure we would be able to perform all the pieces we planned, but the girls have focused and we are doing all five.”

The women’s choir, directed by Taylor, performed one German and one Spanish number, a feat which Taylor commended.

Dr. Sid Shuler said it was joy for him to rehearse with the honor band and added that they “stepped up” to tackle some challenging pieces.

—Tena L. Cook, Interim Marketing Coordinator

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